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NOLA-based designer Maureen Stevens on the best interior upgrades and summer trends

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“I truly believe the best way to make your home stand out in the market is to make it feel like New Orleans,” Stevens said.
Photos by Lauren Logan

New Orleans and Austin share a certain affinity. Both cities are hot, humid destinations for live music and great food—and both have unique design sensibilities. That’s why interior designer Maureen Stevens divides her time between Austin and New Orleans and feels at home in both places.

“I’m really excited to be working more and more in NOLA. I love... residential and commercial projects that meld the old and the new while celebrating the city and its history, architecture, people, and culture,” said Stevens, whose work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, on HGTV.com, and in many other outlets.

Read on for her styling tips and trend forecasts.

What are some of your favorite home design trends for summer 2019?

Maximalism—it’s no longer a no-no. Sure, it’s still muted maximalism, but more and more people are embracing pattern on pattern, bold colors, and daring art. I love it! I am also currently inspired by curvy furniture. I think the trends are moving out with pure and straight mid-century modern lines and in with shapely furniture.

Bold cactus wallpaper meets a serene view in this bedroom styled by Stevens.

Any trends you would recommend avoiding?

I would suggest avoiding open kitchen shelving everywhere—I do think a mix of closed and open shelving is great, but I know a lot of people are in love with open shelving. This inspiration often comes from what they see in coffee shops and restaurants, but this is not as practical in a home setting. No matter how neat and organized one is, kitchen cabinets help conceal clutter.

Unless the home may be your forever home, do not go with patterns that are too personal. I’m talking about in backsplash tiles or flooring finishes. Case in point: animal-themed tiles may look so adorable in your kid’s bathroom, but a buyer may want to use this bathroom as a guest bath. Go for patterns that are more classic and versatile.

What are the top renovations homeowners can make to increase the value of their property?

Kitchen and bath renovations, of course! A kitchen is the hub of a home and upgrading it to one that is both beautiful and functional with all the amenities of the modern world is a plus. A welcoming powder bath and a refreshing master bathroom with a “wow” factor will definitely increase the value of a property as well.

Stevens clad this Lakeview home in a peaceful white palette.

There can be tension between 19th-century homes and modern design trends. How do you straddle that line?

My favorites mix old and new, classic modern, updated classic or the new classic (as opposed to neoclassic). It’s easier than one thinks. Clean lines can totally mix with maximalist and the Rococo vibe, as long as there is a defined color palette and a visual balance with all of the elements.

Who and what are some of your favorite local architects, landscape designers, and furniture stores?

Farouki Farouki is a husband-and-wife architect and interior design team—they totally rock. They just designed and completed Justine in the French Quarter. The classic elements and Parisian bistro finishes, plus other quirky details, are such a breath of fresh air amidst the all classic interiors of most of the restaurants in the area.

Studio WTA recently completed the renovation of an 1850s church turned hotel and bar in the Marigny called Hotel Peter & Paul—it’s pure eye candy! Every detail was well thought out.

As far as furniture stores, Dop Antiques is a mecca of affordable European furniture and fixtures. The auctions here abound with great finds with amazing value.

Organic elements and clean-lined furniture mingle in this Lakeview home styled by Stevens.

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